Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” But if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. With that in mind, as we lay the foundation for the year, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
We have covered the first one thus far. As we study the second (leveling up financially), I am breaking this down into the following five topics:
1. Soul Prosperity & the Answer to Poverty
2. Tithes and Offerings
3. Sowing into Ministry
4. Giving to the Poor
5. The Purpose of Prosperity
I already taught on the importance of honoring God with the tithe (the first 10% of your income) and giving spirit-led offerings (beyond the tithe). The tithe and offerings are, in most cases, sown into a local church. Today I will discuss sowing into ministries outside of the local church that are advancing God’s Kingdom around the world. You will see that if you give sacrificially to support God’s Kingdom projects, God will see to you that you receive a harvest on your seed, NOW, in this world, and along with your earthly harvest, you still get to enjoy eternal life.
So what does this mean for you today? To answer this question, we are going to do something a little different today. Instead of giving you a passage upfront and then providing bullet points from the passage, we are going to walk through our passage verse-by-verse, and I will give you nuggets along the way. The passage we will study today is found in Mark 10:17-30. It deals with “The rich young ruler,” and we will look at the passage in The Passion Translation.
(Mark 10:17-30 TPT)
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man came running up to him. Kneeling down in front of him, he cried out, “Good Teacher, what one thing am I required to do to gain eternal life?”
— This seems like a decent question.
— It seems like he is coming with good intentions.
— But we will see that this encounter does not last too long.
18 Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? Only God is truly good.
19 You already know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give a false testimony, do not cheat, and honor your father and mother.’”
— The 10 commandments can be broken up into two categories: four that deal with honoring God, and six that deal with honoring men.
— Jesus mentioned the six that deal with honoring men.
— Jesus did not mention any of the commandments that deal with honoring God.
— We will see why in a moment.
20 The man said to Jesus, “Teacher, I have carefully obeyed these laws since my youth.”
— The rich young ruler claimed to have kept six of the 10 commandments since he was a young boy.
— Once again, these were the six that deal with other humans, not with God.
— Jesus was going to address the fact that he lacked honor for God.
21 Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him, “Yet there is still one thing in you lacking. Go, sell all that you have and give the money to the poor. Then all of your treasure will be in heaven. After you’ve done this, come back and walk with me.”
— Although the young man had 6 of the 10 commandments supposedly covered, notice that Jesus did not say, “Hey, you lack four things.” No, Jesus said, “You lack one thing.” Because the four commandments Jesus did not mention all boil down to one thing.
— The ONE THING this young man lacked was HONOR for God.
— His heart was not right towards God.
— To expose his heart condition, Jesus told him to sell everything he had and to give the money to the poor.
— Jesus made it clear that if the young man was willing to do this, he would be sowing seed and reap a divine harvest.
— Jesus even invited the young man to join him in ministry.
22 Completely shocked by Jesus’ answer, he turned and walked away very sad, for he was extremely rich.
— The young man was not expecting Jesus’ answer.
— Jesus did not tell him to leave. Actually, Jesus invited him to come.
— This is the ONLY MAN in scripture that Jesus said, “Follow me” to, who chose NOT to follow Jesus.
— Why? It is not just because he had money. It is because money had him.
— His issue was a heart condition. He had a wrong relationship with money. As a result, when Jesus gave him the invitation, he became sad and left.
— He turned Jesus down because money was occupying the wrong place in his heart.
— Many who are rich in earthly possessions have developed a level of trust and confidence in their riches that competes against God. This leads me to what Jesus said next.
23 Jesus looked at the faces of his disciples and said, “How hard it is for the wealthy to enter into God’s kingdom realm.”
— Jesus made it plain. He basically explained the power, or stronghold, that “the love of money” can have on people.
— When people have lots of money, the chances are high that money will have them.
— There are several examples in scripture of people God made extremely wealthy who maintained God as “first place” in their lives. But Jesus was pointing to the reality that the vast majority of people who amass earthly fortunes are people who place more confidence in their money than they do in God.
24 The disciples were startled when they heard this. But Jesus again said to them, “Children, it is next to impossible for those who trust in their riches to find their way into God’s kingdom realm.
25 It is easier to stuff a rope through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy person to enter into God’s kingdom realm.”
— Notice how the disciples were startled when Jesus said this.
— It’s not like the disciples said, “Yeah, Jesus! People who have money are going to hell!” No. They were surprised by what Jesus was saying because it’s not like they were poor.
26 But this left them all the more astonished, and they whispered to one another, “Then who could ever be saved?”
— Jesus was not saying that money was bad. As a matter of fact, if you keep reading, you will see that Jesus talks about receiving a 100 harvest on your seed. So the issue cannot be money.
— His point here was to explain how dangerous “the love of money” can be.
— Money makes for an excellent servant but a poor master.
27 Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God—God makes all things possible!”
— Once again, it is possible to HAVE MONEY and to still HONOR GOD!
— The young man in the text had a wrong relationship with God in his heart. But that does not mean that everyone does. With God, this is most certainly possible.
— God made Abraham rich. God made David rich. God made Solomon the richest man who ever lived. This led Solomon to say, “The Blessing of the Lord is capable of making you rich, and when God does it, He adds NO SORROW with it!” (Prov 10:22).
28 Then Peter spoke up and said, “Can’t you see that we’ve left everything we had to cling to you?”
— Peter then said something that drives home the point of my message today.
— Peter talked about how he and the disciples had made tremendous sacrifices for Jesus and the advancement of the Gospel.
— Peter was saying, “Hey, this guy was not willing to give up everything that he has to follow you, but we did. We have sacrificed everything, and we have supported your ministry for years!”
— To use the language I used in my last message, Peter was saying, “Hold on, Jesus! We have seed in the ground. We have sown into your ministry!”
— Listen to Jesus’ reply. The point of today’s message is in what Jesus said next.
29 “Listen to my words,” Jesus said. “Anyone who leaves his home behind and chooses me over children, parents, family, and possessions, all for the sake of the gospel,
30 it will come back to him a hundred times as much in this lifetime—homes, family, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, possessions—along with persecutions. And in the age to come, he will inherit eternal life.
— Jesus made it clear to Peter and to everyone else that God will NEVER be in debt to you!
— Whatever you give up for Him, and for the advancement of the Gospel, will become seed in the ground, and our Lord, who is the Lord of the Harvest, will see to it that you will receive a hundredfold return.
— Also, notice that Jesus talked about us receiving a hundredfold return on whatever we sow into ministry, NOW, in this world, in addition to eternal life.
Here are some closing thoughts for today:
— Jesus made this statement right after He said that it would be hard for a rich person to enter God’s Kingdom. Jesus was obviously not against believers having money.
— Jesus was simply against money having a grip on people to the point where they are NOT free to do (with the money) whatever the Father tells them to do.
— God wants you to fund His Kingdom projects around the world. In most cases, that will happen through supporting ministries. When you do, God will ensure that you are blessed for whatever you sow (give up) for His sake and for the sake of furthering the Gospel message.
— When you sow into ministry, you are sowing into divine projects on the earth, and the Lord Himself will ensure you reap an earthly harvest on every seed sown; IN ADDITION TO ETERNAL LIFE!
— My wife and I sow into a list of ministries, other than the tithes and offerings we give at our local church. We do this every month as part of honoring God in the area of our finances.
— Remember, God is your source. If you have the desire to sow into a ministry that you know is advancing God’s Kingdom plans and purposes on this planet, ask Him. Open your heart and ask God to use you as a conduit of Kingdom finance.
When you know God is your source, and you believe He already prepared everything you will need for your success, you are not concerned about money or the lack thereof. You will not have a FEAR OF RUNNING OUT. You will have FAITH IN RUNNING OVER!!!
*** If the focus of Jesus’ conversation with the Rich Young Ruler was to say that “Money is bad,” then why would He turn around and talk about receiving a hundredfold return on every seed sown? The issue is not money. The issue is the condition of your heart where money is concerned.
Lastly, please remember, this has nothing to do with your salvation. You don’t have to honor God with your money to go to heaven. But if money is your God, Jesus made it clear that it will be hard for you because you trust money over God!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I know it is Your desire that I walk in NEW LEVELS in 2021. You are leading me to LEVEL UP in every area of my life. I level up financially. I honor You with the tithe. I give offerings above and beyond the tithe. And I open my heart to be able to fund Your Kingdom projects around the world. As I do, I know You, as the Lord of the Harvest, will see to it that I receive a hundredfold return on every seed sown. You give me money with a mission and prosperity with a purpose. This year I become a conduit of Kingdom finance. GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!